Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) HST Audit

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) HST Audit

CRA HST Audit

CRA HST Audit

Canada Revenue Agency CRA HST Audit

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) frequently conducts HST audits and reviews to make sure Canadians are complying with the regulations. CRA HST Audits can also be referred to as GST Audits or GST/HST Audits. GST/HST audits focus on GST/HST filing errors and omissions. The CRA does have the right to examine records of the organization that are relevant to determining its tax liabilities.

What causes a CRA HST audit?

The CRA has a complex computer system that allows it to select returns to be audited by sorting them into various groups. There are four common ways the CRA selects files for audit:

  1. Computer-generated lists – In order to select specific returns for audit, the CRA often compares selected financial information for current and previous years of taxpayers engaged in similar businesses or occupations.
  2. Audit projects – The CRA often tests the compliance of a particular group of taxpayers, particularly if there is reason to believe that there is significant non-compliance within a group.
  3. Leads – Leads for audits often are the result of other audits or investigations, as well as information from outside sources.
  4. Secondary files – A business may be selected for audit if it is associated with another file that is being reviewed for audit, since the CRA often finds it convenient to look at all the records at the same time.

What is the CRA’s new approach?

The way the CRA conducts its audits has changed over the years. The CRA has switched from a combined audit approach to a detailed approach. In the past, most audits of smaller businesses have been done as combined audits – one audit covering both income tax and GST/HST. Combined audits have now been discontinued. Therefore, businesses are now subject to an income tax or GST/HST audit, leading the CRA to request more detailed information.

What can you do to prepare for a CRA HST audit?

Before you release any information to the CRA, make sure you seek professional advice. Once the information has been released the CRA can use it against you to assess penalties and interest. This requires you to be well prepared and know your rights as a business owner. In case of an audit remember the following:

  • Maintain good records: Organize the receipts and documentation to support your claims. You are required to keep your records and supporting documents and financial information for at least six years. Well-kept records will likely reduce the time required to complete the audit. some tips on good record keeping include:
    • Ensure you have copies of any GST/HST elections you have been relying on.
    • Ensure your documentation is neatly organized and in order. The CRA will likely request a copy of your electronic books and records.
    • If you have a combination of exempt and taxable supplies, ensure your ITC allocation methodology is documented and explained.
  • Be knowledgeable: Before the auditor begins the audit, confirm what taxation years are under review and what records he or she will require. This will ensure you have the required information ready for the auditor upon arrival.
  • Know your rights: Don’t give the auditor full accessibility to your files. Understand your rights as a taxpayer and exercise them when necessary.
  • Understand the information you are providing: Carefully review all information provided to the CRA and ensure that you are not providing more information than required.
  • Be courteous and professional: It is important to cooperate with the CRA and provide them with the information they request. However, always remember your rights as a business owner. Responding promptly and professionally to all correspondence received from the CRA may help complete the process faster and smoother.

A CRA audit can be time consuming and costly when you don’t have the right resources. For assistance, contact Cheema CPA Prof. Corp. and we will work with you through this process.

What are your rights GST/HST CRA audit?

Your rights are outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which states the 16 rights that apply to all taxpayers and registrants. This video, will mention three of the 16 rights that we want to highlight for you as you go through the audit process.

 

  • Right number three says you have the right to privacy and confidentiality. Auditors must respect the confidentiality of tax information and are obliged to take safeguards to protect your information.
  • Right number five says you have the right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly. You should expect this treatment from an auditor.
  • And right number six says you have the right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information. You should expect to be kept informed throughout the audit.

If you need to learn more about your rights as a taxpayer please refer to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. 

Who can help during a GST/HST CRA audit?

Having the right team of professionals handling your HST audit is the key to success. As a taxpayer and a business owner you have rights. Before you release any information to the CRA make sure you seek professional advice. Once the information has been released, the CRA can use it against you to assess penalties and interest. Our firm is specialized in CRA HST Audits and Reviews. We can help you achieve a favorable result. Our team of lawyers and tax accountants can professionally handle your CRA HST Audit or Review.

GST/HST Rates Across Canada

Canadian Provincial Tax Map 2015

GST HST Rates Across Canada

 GST/HST Rates Across Canada

With eCommerce more and more businesses are selling goods and services across Canada. This has resulted in confusion on which sales tax rates apply. Majority of Canadian businesses must collect sales taxes from customers and remit them to the government. Depending on the province your business operates in, the rates are different.

Based on the province or territory in which your business operates in, you need to collect either:

  • A combination of GST and PST
  • GST only
  • HST

 What sales tax should I charge my customer in another province?

Generally speaking the sale tax you charge your customer depends on where the supply of the goods or services is made. If a business in Alberta sends products to a business in Ontario, the place of supply is Ontario and you will be charging your customer the HST at the rate for Ontario.

GST/HST sales tax rates that apply in Canada by province:

Province Type PST GST HST Total Tax Rate
(%) (%) (%) (%)
Alberta GST 5 5
British Columbia GST+PST 7 5 12
Manitoba GST+PST 8 5 13
New Brunswick HST 13 13
Newfoundland and Labrador HST 13 13
Northwest Territories GST 5 5
Nova Scotia HST 15 15
Nunavut GST 5 5
Ontario HST 13 13
Prince Edward Island HST 14 14
Quebec GST+QST *9.975 5 14.975
Saskatchewan GST+PST 5 5 10
Yukon GST 5 5

 

 

What sales tax should I charge my customer in another Country?

If you sell good outside of Canada this is considered a zero-rated supply and you do not charge your customers GST or HST. However, if the goods are picked up from Canada then the supply is made in Canada and you are required to charge GST/HST depending on your respective province.

How to calculate GST/HST?

Example 1: In Alberta, where only GST applies and you sold a $100 item.

Retail price: $100
GST (5%): $5
Total: $105

Example 2: In Ontario, where HST applies and you sold a $100 item.

Retail price: $100
HST (13%): $13
Total: $113

Example 3: In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, PST, like GST, is calculated on the retail price only. The two taxes are then added to the retail price for your total. For example, in Manitoba:

Retail price: $100
GST (5%): $5
PST (7%): $7
Total: $112

 Visit the CRA website for more information 

CRA Auditing – HST New Housing Rebates

Goods and Services Tax/Harmonixed Sales Tax (GST/HST) New Housing Rebate

Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) New Housing Rebate

The Canadian Market

The housing market in Toronto and the suburbs has been booming over the last several years. This has allowed investors from all over the world to cash in. The strategy was to purchase a newly constructed home or condominium unit from the builder and sell it a few months later for profit. This strategy seemed like people had finally figured out how to pull ahead in this struggling economy. For some this had even become a full time job with endless rewards. With the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) only taxing half of the capital gain this was the right way to retain your money.

HST New Housing Rebate

With the CRA looking to increase tax revenues they started reviewing the New Housing Rebate applications  and determined a large number of people had claimed the GST/HST New Housing Rebate incorrectly. They were able to determine a large number of investors never even moved into the newly constructed property but they had sold it few months after they took possession. In this case they would not qualify for the rebate and they would be required to pay the HST balance to the CRA. A lot of investors had already sold the property and had failed to collect HST on the sale, which would mean they were still required to pay back the HST. This was a sticky situation with some investors on the hook for over $24,000. In some instances the CRA waited 3 years to reassess the taxpayer. Read more